1 Stefan Noesen played in his first game since Oct 18, 2014, a 2-0 shutout of the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning). Noesen picked up a helper on the game's second goal, his third of the season. Noesen now has four points in five games played (1G, 3A).
2 Jason LaBarbera stood tall for his second shut-out of the season last night against the Eastern Conference Leading Crunch, stopping all 18 shots he faced. Through 18 games, LaBarbera is 6-8-3 with a 2.26 GAA and a .922 SP.
3 Defenseman Josh Manson scored his third goal of the season against the Crunch, his first power play point of the season. Manson has seen time in 22 games for the Admirals this season and has chipped in for eight points (3G, 5A).
4 Norfolk continues to shine on the penalty kill, sitting fourth in the AHL with an 87.3 percent kill rate. Admirals' penalty killers have allowed just 27 goals on 213 short-handed attempts.
5 Norfolk was shut out for just the fifth time this season last Saturday by the Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks). It was also the second time in three games they were shut-out, so....
6 Through 49 games this season, just six players out of 45 who have dressed for an Admirals game have appeared in at least 44 or more. Only Nic Kerdiles and David Steckel have skated in every game.
7 Emerson Etem continues to find his way on to the score sheet and added his seventh assist of the season on Norfolk's first goal last night against Syracuse. Etem is fourth on the Admirals in scoring with 20 points in 21 games (13G, 7A). For those doing the math, that's just shy of a point-per-game. But hey, leave him here in Norfolk....
8 Through eight games, Mark Fistric remains the only Admirals player with a positive plus/minus with plus-1. Fistric has two assists and ten minutes in penalties, including six last night in a "chippy" contest with Syracuse that saw a combined 30 infractions and 72 minutes in penalties handed out.
9 Kerdiles scored his ninth goal of the season last night against the Crunch. His third game-winning goal of the season also put him back alone as the Admirals leader in points with 26 (9G, 17A) over Chris Wagner (13G, 12A, 25 pts)
10 Center William Karlsson fresh off his brief recall to Anaheim, notched his tenth assist of the season last night. Karlsson, who has disappointed at both the NHL and AHL levels this season, has just 14 points (4G, 10A) in 30 games with the Admirals.
--Kerdiles scored the first and eventual game winner last night against the Crunch just 1:13 in to the first period. He was knocked out of the game just over ten minutes later as he was coming across the middle of the ice with his head down by a big, clean hit. No penalties assessed, no fight afterwards, so apparently the players and the officials agreed with the non-call. Kerdiles did not return to the game after spending a few minutes on the ice with the trainer. He was never knocked out, but he was clearly dazed. I briefly talked to Nic post-game, which was a good sign that he wasn't taken to the hospital. He said he didn't see the hit and his "head hurt." I'm guessing he'll sit for the first time this season tonight, but we all know just how well those concussion protocols are followed, right?
--Coach Skalde called Karlsson's recall the "best thing that could have happened for us." He used "us" and not "him." I asked him to explain. Summing up, Skalde essentially said Karlsson didn't deserve to go up, he wasn't ready to go up, he wasn't playing like a guy who belonged in the NHL. He was also sent back down quickly because the staff in Anaheim also noticed Karlsson didn't belong there either. Skalde believes the recall and subsequent demotion should serve as a wake up call. I'm not so sure.
I believe Karlsson is a lost cause at this point, and from where I sit I don't think the organization thinks that highly of him any more. I have to laugh when I read the various "prospects" sites that talk him up within the system. He's clearly fallen out of favor, and he's done nothing to warrant another look by Anaheim. The coaching staff in Norfolk is giving him ample time to turn things around, but it's abundantly clear they just don't like him. I don't blame them.
--Noesen got clearance for full participation earlier this week and was on the ice for Wednesday's "angry" practice, an event that saw players take physical liberties with each other, throwing the kinds of hits that would warrant penalties in a game, all in an effort to wake guys up and get them angry. He was in the starting line-up last night and got to work early, taking and giving out a hit on his first shift. He looked good on the ice and saw time on the power play, including a laser-like pass to Manson who roofed a shot past the Syracuse goalie for the Admirals' second goal of the game.
Noesen said he's making sure to take things a game at a time and that both he and the coaches talked about not trying to make up for two years in just one night. He looked good, said he felt good, and was happy to be on the ice again. The Admirals surely need him, he'll bring a big physical presence and an offensive touch to their game. And hell, the guy deserves a few points on principle--he's missed more than enough games, gone through enough pain, surgeries, and rehab to cover two careers.
--Norfolk sits ten points out of a playoff spot.
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